LTA (NSF) Aveek Goswami [left] led his team of men to conduct temperature-screening operations at Changi Airport.
Bright eyed, excited and freshly minted LTA (NSF) Aveek Goswami reported for duty on his first day keen to learn and do a good job in leading a platoon of men as a Rota Commander in SCDF’s Special Rescue Unit (SRU). He has heard much about SRU and how it was recognised as the crack troops of SCDF. The SRU specialises in decontamination, large fire and rescue operations and mass casualty ambulance conveyance. It is always ready 24/7.
Little did he know he would be battling a different enemy on the ground just three days after his appointment into SRU. This invisible enemy is the Novel Coronavirus that hit the shores of Singapore on 23 January, and has since been spreading rapidly across many parts of the island. When the Ministry of Health broke the news of the first affected case, Aveek thought to himself if there was some way he could help.
Four days later, his thoughts became a reality when his commander, MAJ Jason Chua called him over the phone, “Aveek, we’ve been tasked to help out at Changi Airport with temperature screening operations. Let’s plan this and let’s do a good job for our country.”
“Yes Sir!” LTA Aveek replied.
With a sense of urgency like any true firefighter, LTA Aveek and his unit conducted a recce at Changi Airport as they planned their Standard Operating Procedure. They also received training from the staff of Raffles Medical Group (RMG) to conduct their duties within a span of 36 hours while being deployed operationally on the night of 28 January.
Quiet and unassuming during an interview, LTA Aveek remarked, “I’m proud to be able to do my part to help and serve my country as a Full Time National Serviceman in this role. It is a different ‘fire’ to fight.”
Section commander, SGT (NSF) Kevin Khoo who has been in SRU nearing a year chimed in, “It is important to do our best to minimize the impact of the Novel Coronavirus. I will try my best to be firm yet friendly when dealing with the members of public to have their body temperature scanned.”
When asked if he has concerns on the virus affecting him, he replied, “We have been trained by RMG to be thorough and cautious when donning our Personal Protective Equipment, and to ensure we maintain our personal hygiene. As long as we follow these measures closely, I believe all would be well.”
Thank You, Special Rescue Unit!